Have you ever wondered what those old time diseases were?  Anyone who has done genealogy research and obtained copies of death certificates has seen comments like Bloody Flux, chilblains, whooping cough, etc.  Below is a listing of various old time diseases that may make reading that death certificate a little easier.For a more extensive list, there are listings under the Floyd Co., KY GenWeb on Rootsweb as well as other sites that carry archaic medical terms.


AgueMalarial Fever
American plagueYellow Fever
ApoplexyParalysis due to stroke
Bad BloodSyphilis
Bilious feverTyphoid, malaria, hepatitis or elevated temperature and bile emesis
Black plague or deathBubonic plague
Black feverAcute infection with high temperature and dark red skin
Black poxBlack Smallpox
Black vomitVomiting old black blood due to ulcers or Yellow Fever
Blackwater feverDark urine associated with high temperature
Bladder in the throatDiphtheria
Bloody fluxBloody stools
Bloody sweatSweating sickness
Bone shaveSciatica
Bronze JohnYellow Fever
CaduceusSubject to falling sickness or epilepsy
Camp feverTyphus also known as camp diarrhea
Canine madnessRabies, hydrophobia
CerebritisLead poisoning
ChilblainSwelling of extremities caused by exposure to cold
Chin coughWhooping cough –
ChlorosisIron deficiency anemia
CholeraSevere contagious diarrhea with intestinal lining sloughing
Cholera morbusCharacterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, & elevated temperature
ChoreaDisease characterized by convulsions, contortions and dancing
Cold plagueAgue which is characterized by chills
Congestive chillsMalaria
Congestive chillsMalaria with diarrhea
Congestive feverMalaria
CoryzaA cold
Cramp colicAppendicitis
Crop sicknessOverextended stomach
CynancheThroat Disease
DebilityLack of movement or staying in bed
DecrepitudeFeebleness due to old age
DeplumationTumor of the eyelids which causes hair loss
Diary feverA fever that lasts one day
DiphtheriaContagious disease of the throat
Dock FeverYellow Fever
Dropsy or DropseyContraction of hydropsy which is edema or fluid retention usually due to heart or kidney failure
Dry BellyacheLead poisoning
DysenteryInflammation of colon with frequent passage of mucous & blood
DysorexyReduced appetite
DysuryDifficulty in urination
EcstasyA form of catalepsy characterized by loss of reason
ElephantiasisA form of leprosy
Enteric feverTyphoid Fever
EnterocolitisInflammation of the intestines
EnteritisInflations of the bowels
ErysipelasContagious skin disease, due to Streptococci with vesicular & bulbous lesions
Extravasted bloodRupture of a blood vessel
Falling sicknessEpilepsy
FitsSudden attack or seizure of muscle activity
FluxAn excessive flow or discharge of fluid like hemorrhage or diarrhea
French poxSyphilis
GravelKidney or Gallstones
Great poxSyphilis
Green fever or sicknessAnemia
GrippeInfluenza like symptoms
Grocer’s itchSkin disease caused by mites in sugar or flour
Heart sicknessCondition caused by loss of salt from body
Hectical complaintRecurrent fever
Hip goutOsteomylitis
HorrorsDelirium tremens
HydrocephalusEnlarged head, water on the brain
HydropericardiumHeart dropsy
HydrothroaxDropsy in chest
HypertrophicEnlargement of organ, like the heart
ImpetigoContagious skin disease characterized by pustules
InanitionPhysical condition resulting from lack of food
Jail feverTyphus
JaundiceCondition caused by blockage of intestines
King’s EvilTuberculosis of neck and lymph glands
KruchhustenWhooping cough
LockjawTetanus or infectious disease affecting the muscles of the neck and jaw untreated, it is fatal in 8 days
Long sicknessTuberculosis
Lung feverPneumonia
Lung sicknessTuberculosis
Lying inTime of delivery of infant
Malignant sore throatDiphtheria
MarasmusProgressive wasting away of body, like malnutrition
Membranous CroupDiphtheria
MeningitisInflammation of brain or spinal cord
MetritisInflammation of uterus or purulent vaginal discharge
MiasmaPoisonous vapors thought to infect the air
Milk Fever, undulant fever or brucellosisDisease from drinking contaminated milk
Milk legPost partum thrombophlebitis
Milk sicknessDisease caused by drinking milk from cows which had eaten poisonous weeds
MorphewScurvy blisters on the body
MortificationGangrene of necrotic tissue
MyelitisInflammation of the spine
MyocarditisInflammation of heart muscles
NecrosisMortification of bones or tissue
NephrosisKidney degeneration
NephritisInflammation of kidneys
Nervous prostrationExtreme exhaustion from inability to control physical and mental activities
PemphigusSkin disease of watery blisters
PericarditisInflammation of heart
PeripneumoniaInflammation of lungs
PeritonotisInflammation of abdominal area
Petechial FeverFever characterized by skin spotting
PhthiriasisLice infestation
PlagueAn acute febrile highly infectious disease with a high fatality rate
PleurisyAny pain in the chest area with each breath
Polio Potter’s AsthmaFibroid Pthisis (Chronic wasting away or another name for tuberculosis)
Pott’s DiseaseTuberculosis of the Spine
Puerperal ExhaustionDeath due to childbirth
Puerperal FeverElevated temperature after giving birth
Puking FeverMilk Sickness
Putrid FeverDiphtheria
Remitting FeverMalaria
RheumatismPain in the joints
Rose coldHay fever
Rottany FeverA form of child’s fever
Sanguineous crustScab
Scarlatina or Scarlet FeverA disease characterized by a red rash
Scarlet RashRoseola
ScirrhusCancerous tumors
ScotomyDizziness, nausea & dimness of sight
Scrivener’s PalsyWriter’s cramp
ScrofulaTuberculosis of the neck lymph glands
ScrumpoxSkin disease or impetigo
ScurvyLack of vitamin C
SepticemiaBlood poisoning
ShakesDelirium tremens (DT’s)
ShakingChills or ague
SiriasisInflammation of the brain caused by sun exposure
Ship feverTyphus
SloesMilk sickness
SmallpoxContagious disease with fever & blisters
Softening of the brainStroke or hemorrhage in the brain resulting in softening of the tissue in that area
Sore throat distemperDiphtheria or quinsy Spanish influenza
Spotted feverTyphus or meningitis
SprueTropical disease characterized by intestinal  disorders and sore throat
St. Anthony’s fire or ErysipelasNamed because the affected areas of the skin are bright red in appearance
St. Vitas or Viper’s DanceInvoluntary rapid jerking movements that don’t cease
StomatitisInflammation of the mouth
Stranger’s feverYellow Fever
Sudor anglicusSweating sickness (see below)
Summer complaintDiarrhea, usually caused by spoiled milk
Swamp sicknessMalaria, typhoid or encephalitis
Sweating sicknessInfectious & fatal disease common to United Kingdom in the 15th century
Tussis ConvulsivaWhooping Cough
Typhus (Typhoid Fever)Infectious fever characterized by high fever, headache & dizziness
White swellingTuberculosis of the bone
Winter feverPneumonia
Womb feverInfection of the uterus
Worm fitConvulsions associated with teething, worms, elevated temperature or diarrhea
YellowjacketYellow fever